Chris Abbott and Carlos Puga BURMA Interview
After a disappointing book publishing meeting and on the eve of an annual family reunion, Christian (Christopher Abbott)'s estranged father unexpectedly shows up at his door asking for help. Despite abandoning the family at the onset of his wife's terminal illness, Dr. Lynn claims he can justify his nine-year absence. Christian reluctantly agrees to escort his father into a hostile family environment. On the morning of the trip, Kate, Christian’s ex-girlfriend shows up to go along on this trip. The return of the father, the presence of the ex-girlfriend and his grief-fueled drug addiction sends an already tense family dynamic reeling.
Winner of the Special Jury Recognition for Ensemble Cast at SXSW.
Red Carpet at 4:13 PM with Chris Abbott and Carlos Puga scheduled to appear.
Thu, 4/11 5:15 PM
SFF 2013: Carlos, please tell us about your directorial approach with this film.
CARLOS PUGA: I came from documentary work and I learned to tune in on what was natural and real. Our actors went into every scene with so much internal work going on that the scenes unfolded in a natural way that was beyond my expectations.
SFF 2013: Chris, what drew you to the role of Christian?
CHRIS ABBOTT: I thought it was interesting to play someone who was very aware of his flaws, and that he had many of them, and that he knew he needed to and wanted to break out of himself. He’s in a cycle and he’s going down some very dark paths. He’s recycling all these bad habits that he has and yet he is trying to change himself. Also I was excited to work with Carlos. We were friends before we did that film. And once we got that cast together with Gaby Hoffman, Chris McCann and Dan Bittner it felt like everything was falling into the right place.
SFF 2013: Carlos, you expressed so much visually, can you talk about that?
CARLOS PUGA: It’s a lot more interesting when things are unsaid and you can figure out on your own. In those silences, with the strength of Chris’s acting, we really get to know him as a character through his choices and actions rather than through a lot of exposition.
SFF 2013: Chris, the family dynamic in this film was all important. How did it come together?
CHRIS ABBOTT: I was the first to be cast, then our casting director had me read with Gaby and Dan. What was most important to us was finding actors with an inherent understanding of natural dialogue, the quality of not overplaying anything. Everyone in the cast has quality as actors.
SFF 2013: Carlos, the story feels so authentic. Did it come from your real life?
CARLOS PUGA: I wouldn’t say the film is autobiographical, though there are certain things I drew from my real life, like being a middle child and my brother and myself gravitating toward the arts. Sibling rivalries, jealousies, other personal stuff may have gotten in there that I changed up a little.
SFF 2013: Chris, who would you say is the audience for BURMA?
CHRIS ABBOTT: Everyone. It’s a family drama that spans multiple generations. In fact, an aspect of the film that I love so much is the fact that the father in this movie had a life before his kids and that’s a highly relevant theme throughout the movie. He says at one point, “the only thing I’m guilty of is loving your mother more than you”, and it sounds like a hurtful thing but I don’t find that it is. It’s just extremely honest. I think everyone can respond to that kind of honesty.